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March 2008 Archives

March 9, 2008

Dog Days

One of the main reasons I’ve not posted here is my neighbor, the guy with the dog, monitors this weblog and acts as postmaster for his friends, downloading, forwarding and/or printing out this text and stressing out the neighbors in a sophomoric attempt to defend the indefensible: leaving his barking dog outside my bedroom. For four years, now, I’ve been posting here about this persistent barking and problems with the dog’s owner, an otherwise friendly guy who has become my Lex Luthor over what ought to be a relatively simple matter. Lately he’s taken to oblique threats of physical violence, screaming and cursing at me, demanding answers and explanations without allowing me to get even one word, I mean not one syllable, in edgewise. “How could you discuss this stuff in front of strangers?!” he shrieked at me, referring to you people who are, for the most part, strangers only to *him* (and, of course, his dog). Over the winter, he called the cops on me because I was yelling at his dog, which misses the point (1) yelling at dogs is not a crime and (2) if his dog wasn’t barking, I wouldn’t be yelling.

Dogs are pack animals. They don’t respond to mealy-mouthed pleas of nice-nice. If I want this dog to stop barking, and his master is not around—which is the main problem, this man leaving his loud animal unsupervised—I have to bark louder than he does. I explained this to my neighbor in better times, and he seemed to understand it. You can’t hurt a dog’s feelings. He’s a DOG. You communicate with dogs the way they communicate with each other: they obey the commands of the pack leader. I am not angry at the dog. I am not ridiculing the dog. I am not being “mean” to the dog. I am not, in any way harming the dog. I am communicating with his animal because the dog’s master has wandered off somewhere, leaving me in hell. Again.

Having not heard of the First Amendment, I suppose Dog Man’s (thus far successful) efforts at suppressing my free speech here are seen, somehow, by him as noble and virtuous. However, threatening me with violence over things I write happens to be against the law. A serious crime. I need to pause here and remind folks: this is about a barking dog. It’s not about race. Not about a bank robbery. Not about selling dope or blasting music or running hookers and bootleg cigarettes out the back door. This is about a barking dog. And Dog Man’s irrational hostility has escalated this mess to ridiculous extremes.

It occurs to me this would make a great comic book. I’m calling Kyle Baker. No, I’m serious. I mean it.

Here’s a crude diagram designed to help explain why I and I alone seem to be having a problem with the dog’s barking. Click to enlarge:

Click To Enlarge

Meet The Neighbors
This is a great dog. I have absolutely no grudge against the dog himself. It’s easy to see why he’s so attached to him: this is the world’s greatest dog. I mean it, he should be wearing a cape. He’s friendly, he’s playful, he’s a giant puppy. I’ve been driving around, for two years now, with tennis balls and chew toys and doggie snacks which I’ve been prohibited from giving to him (Dog Man has asked me not to give him snacks, and the chew toy things require monitoring, which, of course, defeats the purpose of giving a dog a chew toy).

The dog means absolutely no harm to anyone (except, perhaps, the squirrels; but he’s never actually harmed one of them, either). This is not about the dog. This is about the dog owner. Who is, otherwise, himself a man of excellent character and integrity. I mean, this is the neighbor everybody imagines when they think of Fred The Neighbor. Great sense of humor, always willing to pitch in, takes care of his family, looks after the seniors on the block. This is a guy I otherwise admire, the kind of square-jaw family man boys want to grow up to be.

I can’t, for the life of me, explain his irrationality where this dog is concerned. I mean, if you met him, you’d enjoy talking to him. Enjoy hanging out with him. But, after enjoying being with him and hanging out with him, you’d retire to your adjacent homes and he’d dump his huge, barkity-bark dog outside your bedroom window, get in his van and drive away. I mean it, it’s like a bad CW sitcom.

Continue reading "Dog Days" »


The Official Website

Once again—sorry to be gone so long. I never *intend* to vanish, I just become really distracted by a lot of other things. Then, when I look up, it’s four months later and my house is a mess. As many of you know, there’s been some mention of the faux—“Dime Store” novel I wrote for the new Platinum series GUNPLAY. It was a lot of fun todo, but it’s hardly a “comeback” to comics. First of all, my part of it wasn’t a comic book—it was a novella, or perhaps a long short story. The writer of GUNPLAY is the fantastic newcomer Jorge Vega who, for reasons I’ll never quite understand, seems to be fairly happy to have me all but mock his fine work in my dime novel (the dime novel is a funhuse mirror version of the comic book story).

But, the gig did lead to an interview on ComicBookResources.Com, and a lot of speculation that Priest was returning to comics. Which he is and isn’t. Things are eing discussed, some things are comic-related, some are not. Announcing these things is dicey until deals are firmed up and release dates set. I doubt you’ll see much more from me in 2008, but I anticipate several projects either 4Q ’08 or 1Q ’09.

But, since GUNPLAY has my phones ringing al of a sudden, it’s probably a good idea to make this site a going concern again. I’m imosed some hateful frames and iFrames to compensate for the unmanageable spectrum of monitor resolutions currently available. I mean, when I built this site, monitor resolutions were 640x480 and 800x600. I designed it for the latter, thinking, my, how progressive I am. I moved to 1024x768 only reluctantly, shaking my fist at Bill Gates or whoever wouldn’t leave well enough alone.

But, now it’s all a crap-shoot. What with so many people buying “widescreen” monitors, and the resolutions on those monitors being all over the place. I’m constantly amazed at how utterly wrongheaded the “widescreen” thinking is. Computers scroll up and down. A TALLscreen monitor might actually be useful to someone, but a widescreen monitor accomplishes nothing. People think they get to “see more” on their screen, but then go and open their explorer and app windows full width—covering everything and rendering moot the whole point of a “wide” monitor.

Continue reading "The Official Website" »


40 Acres And A Mule

The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has found yet another strategy to employ against Senator Barack Obama. A pernicious and truly sinister attack that might just be their most effective ploy yet: selling the Democratic voters on a Clinton-Obama ticket. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton have been all over the media these past days openly speculating about Barack Obama as a running mate, which, on the surface, seems like a fig leaf to Obama if he’d just end his annoying and time-consuming wins (Obama won in Wyoming today and, as it turns out, won Texas—see following). But this is no fig leaf so much as it is a Trojan horse.

Floating Obama-as-veep accomplishes a number of things, all good for the Clintons: (1) it puts Obama on defense, forcing the senator to all but publicly declare he won’t take the veep slot if offered, which thereby frees Hillary from having to officially offer it, something she would surely loathe to do but would be forced to do should she win so closely a contested race. By floating it out there, she gets Obama on record as not wanting it, which helps her with the black vote when she doesn’t offer it to him. (2) It puts Obama in the Little Brother category. “And here’s my little brother, Barack.” Should Obama even obliquely engage her in this business, he’s finished as a serious candidate, as it positions him, viscerally, as Number Two in the minds of the voters. Obama cannot engage her about this, which forces him to either ignore her altogether or reject this nonsense on the merits, which brings us back to (1).

Continue reading "40 Acres And A Mule" »


March 10, 2008

A Certain Phony Politeness

Circ wrote:
"Comics are in a mostly sorry state, I welcome your scribbles."

This is the second or third time I've heard this. Browsing around the shops, there an ENORMOUS amount of product out there. How can this be true? Browsing the covers, at least, it looks like Excitement City. I'm recognizing fewer and fewer of the names, but, from a cursory glance, it looks like comics are back and going strong.

My whining on ComicBookResources said:
"...comics are extremely personality-driven, and around the time I bowed out—burnt out, to be more accurate—the deal seemed to be that only guys with TV deals were being actively courted, which made not much sense to me and seemed fairly insulting. With all due respect to the TV writers, comic books are a profession. We’re professionals who worked hard to develop our craft, and many of us are being swept aside because Joe WordProcessor sold a pilot to The CW. I’d go to comics shops and just get angry, and I didn’t like feeling that way."

So my industry observations remain few and far between. But, to me, this seems like The Great Experiment: replacing veteran comic writers with TV guys. An urban legend circulating tells the story of how an old school writer (older than my school) called one of the top editors at one of the majors asking what was available. This guy is a major name who had, himself, held a senior position at one or both of the majors. He was always a friend to freelancers, and had been friendly to this now-major editor who'd been a shipping clerk when this old school writer was a boss at the company.

But the guy isn't a shipping clerk, he's a boss, now, and he told the old school writer, "Well, gee, I'm sorry. I'm just used to working with higher-profile talent."

Continue reading "A Certain Phony Politeness" »


March 11, 2008

May Day

May 2009? I thought Star Trek was a Christmas '08 release?

Wonder if this is good news or bad...


March 12, 2008

Rush Hour

CBS's The Early Show just had Geraldine Ferraro on, where they gave her, maybe, a minute to talk about her recent statements re: Barack Obama. Look, I don’t know enough about Ferraro's statement to have an opinion whether they were racist or not, but the CBS hack job was blue journalism at it's worst. I mean, they should have bumped something to make room for her--the issue is way too divisive and complex to be compressed into 60 seconds, the interviewer stepping all over Ferraro as she tried to form a coherent statement.

A win for Ferraro, I think, because the interview (conducted by a black reporter) seemed terribly biased. One of the reasons I don’t watch morning coffee clatch shows: they try and shove too much in. The constant rushing of Ferraro made ME nervous and anxious.

Now they've moved on to Elliot Spitzer and why his wife stands by him. They have all the time in the world. It's a relaxes, drawn-out conversation.



Another Dogg

Oh gosh. Why is Snoop Dog singing?
When did THIS start?!?


March 13, 2008


Go get 'em, Keith.


March 14, 2008

Dream Team

I got it. I know how Obama can stop Hillary in her tracks. Definitively. Permanently. If he really wants to stick it to her:

Join McCain's ticket.

McCain/Obama crushes Hillary like a bug. McCain loses the conservatives, but so what. The Libs really don’t *hate* him the way they hate Bush, and nobody's really buying his "I'm a conservative" claims.


March 17, 2008

The Wright Stuff

I understand what he meant. I mean, heard in fuller context, yes, I do get what he was saying: that this country should be concerned about God’s judgment for many of the choices made by our political leadership. But, often, the words we choose to deliver our message can get in the way of the message itself. Myself being no shrinking violet, I certainly understand the phenomena of hoof-and-mouth disease. What startles me, what really gives me pause, is when the megalomania which is an occupational hazard of the office of Pastor becomes so grossly rabid that one of these loudmouthed, self-absorbed onions would allow his own selfishness to destroy not only his own credibility but derail the most uniquely productive African American social movement of this generation.

The Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr, former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, the Chicago megachurch where the Obamas have been members for 20 years, is well-known for his fiery rhetoric. Until this week, he *used* to also be known for his keen intellect. It is that very intellect that convicts him, now, as being, sadly, another out-of-control blowhard. Too many of our pastors fall to the temptation of self, are overcome by the beguiling influence of fame. Yes, pastors are supposed to be strong leaders, decisive men of courage and vision. But, in my experience, the congregation typically goes way, way too far in praising these guys, their loyalty to and respect for their pastor becoming a kind of blind obedience and, ultimately, worship.

And this is what we get: a man so self-absorbed, so greedy for attention and so completely in love with the sound of his own voice, that his ego supplants his intellect to the most shocking and gross extreme of possibly torpedoing the first viable black presidential candidacy. All Reverend Wright had to do was keep his mouth shut. And he couldn’t do it.

Continue reading "The Wright Stuff" »


March 18, 2008

New Things Priest Has Learned:

(72) You can't make fish sticks in a microwave.


Don't Go Away Mad

What's odd: halfway thru, I thought it was a home run.

Then he kept talking. And it got... I dunno... A little "speechy." I mean, for the most part it was friendly and personal enough that I didn’t take it for a political speech.

Then it became a political speech and I think the wheels came off the wagon. Maybe it's just me, but I think we'd all do better if we knew when to quit. 20 minutes into that thing and he had it all locked up. 37 minutes in and I'm scratching my head, wishing he hadn't started advertising himself. Oh, and the swing at Hillary/Ferraro was a mistake. He shouldn’t have even mentioned them. They should have been seriously irrelevant.

Continue reading "Don't Go Away Mad" »


Smarter Than Bill

Circ: If Hillary wins, she has to ask Obama to be her running mate if she intends to win a general election. If he wins, he needs nothing from her. He needs the moral equivalent of Lyndon Johnson to balance his ticket. Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, a Clinton supporter, comes close.

Clinton-Obama is not a balanced ticket. But she loses black votes without him. Absent that real risk, Obama is a terrible veep choice for Hillary. She needs A White Guy and a heavyweight. Obama-Clinton is an even worse ticket. He wins Hillary's voters and states without her--she doesn't.

This is why Obama is the stronger candidate. He's made himself indispensable. He comes to the general election a whole candidate in and of himself. Clinton does not. Which really isn’t her fault-- it's just the street logic of Obama's run.

Hillary's run actually *made* Obama run. She should have seen this coming. She should have known her making the historic case for a woman candidate threw the door open for, well, just about anything. Hillary actually *created* this Obama phenom, as many of the arguments and much of the enthusiasm her viability generates is directly applicable to him.

Obama *had* to run. Once he realized there was this opportunity, he had to step in and use Clinton's headwind to create an opportunity for him to play a key role in the nomination process. The very worst thing that could have happened would have been a key slot at the convention and positioning for a 2012 or 2016 run.

But something unexpected happened along the way: Obama started winning. I (and, likely, Hillary Clinton) never thought Obama's run was about 2008. I've always assumed it was about '12 or '16. But, because Clinton was so enormously successful early on, Obama strolled in, making use of the same arguments, the same our-time-has-come rhetoric, to make his own candidacy viable. Which changed the strategy from positioning himself for a later run to locking in the veep slot. I'm absolutely convinced Obama was running for vice president.

Continue reading "Smarter Than Bill" »


March 21, 2008

Good Night & Good Luck

Keith Olbermann’s “special comments” may have started out as an Edward R. Murrow-esque thoughtful editorial, but over time they’ve simply become rants. Olbermann seems to be straining harder and harder to be both clever and salient at the same time, while, at the same time, losing the sober edge of Murrow’s piercing excavation of the issue at hand. Additionally, Olbermann’s now sophomoric disrespect shown to the president of the United States—a man I’m no fan of, either—seems to now be officially over the line, which tends to sap his rants of whatever small shred of credibility they once had. Much as I disagree with the president, he is, however, still the president. Criticizing him is easy to do (and great fun), but even I wince at how over-the-top Olbermann is now.

He seems to be devolving into self-parody, which presents a second wince when he co-opts Murrow’s “Good night and good luck,” sign off. I doubt Murrow would approve.


New Things Priest Has Learned:

(84) When you hang around people who treat you like you’re nothing, sooner or later, you yourself start to believe it. It amazes me that it’s taken me 46 years to figure this out.


March 24, 2008

Dodging A Bullet

Vin Diesel's "The Pacifier" is beyond bad. It's difficult to describe just how bad and unfunny this movie is. As someone once posted here, "I felt *soiled* watching it."

It looked like it could *almost* have been funny had they the guts to take it a bit more seriously. But by aiming squarely at the kid market (and, yet, Diesel is not a kid movie star?), they lost every possible opportunity to make this thing actually funny.

It is amazingly bad. I'd have to think really hard to come up with a bigger waste of film studio bucks.



About March 2008

This page contains all entries posted to According To Me in March 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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